San Diego Clubkids performed
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Circus-themed models visited with guests during the cocktail-free cocktail hour

When I scored tickets to ARTessence’s CAPTIVATE: Cirque de l’Artisan, a fashion show in Middletown promoted as “providing the experience of a party and a show in tandem: live graffiti artists, professional dance teams, aerialist performances, circus acts, and talented DJs,” I wasn’t holding my breath. After all, the City of San Diego is the fashion equivalent of Little Rock, Arkansas. My tickets were said to include cocktails and complimentary valet parking —that was not the case. The only parking spot I could find was in front of a nude photography studio where two men were relieving themselves against its exterior.

Andre Soriano plants a kiss

However, when I stepped inside the event, I was pleasantly surprised. The location was terrific: a warehouse with high ceilings was decorated in a kitschy circus theme. More importantly, the people-watching was terrific. Andre Soraino, recently seen on Rihanna’s Bravo series Styled to Rock, was in attendance. He stumbled about with a posse of followers. He posed for photos with everyone and their mother and made a generally brilliant spectacle of himself.

Dress by WishNow

Featured fashions included Shekhar Rahate, winner of the Versace Award for Global Excellence in Fashion and regular in New York Fashion Week, De Marcus, Zavval, and WishNow. Featured artists were Krissy Fernandez (Junk & PO), Jimmy Ovadia (The Art Of Jimmy Ovadia), Danny Suhendar (Danny Suhendar Photography).

Cirque de l’Artisian opened with San Diego Clubkids. The performers wore elaborate costumes and strutted down the runway doing elaborate dances and contortions.

Victoria Roberts and model

Victoria Roberts of WishNow, the San Diego Fashion Week 2013 third place winner, had a runway show of frilly, Lolita-style dresses.

Overall there were some major kinks in the event. They needed more seating and the pacing of the runway shows was a bit of a train wreck. However I think that ARTessence has major potential. I’m looking forward to their next event.

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